Many dairy and beef producers have come to rely on vertical feed mixers to deliver a nutritious, consistent total mixed ration (TMR) to their cattle, and they’re not alone! Because of their versatility and effectiveness, other livestock producers have gone vertical, relying on a TMR mixer to feed their sheep, pigs, goats, and even horses!
If you’re considering a vertical mixer now, here’s a few tips to ensure you purchase a quality machine for your livestock:
- Always Ask for a Demonstration!
All vertical mixers do not mix the same, and as we like to say at Patz, “the truth is in the mix!” Don’t pass up this opportunity to see the machine’s performance firsthand. Ask your local Patz Mixer Dealer for a demo.
- Watch for Dead Spots.
Dennis Buckmaster, Professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Purdue University, states, “Material flow inside the mixer is a big deal. Proper blending of feedstuffs demands that there be no dead spots or paths of recirculating or non-mixing feed.”Dead spots result in longer mixing times, requiring more fuel, and can result in inconsistent rations, overprocessed feed ingredients, and cattle sorting.
- Assess the Mix Quality with Different Batch Sizes
Not all mixers perform adequately when full, or if only mixing a small batch. “Some mixers do not have enough material flow to adequately blend liquids. Others may not have good flow when the batch size is small,” says Buckmaster.
- Check Mixer Cleanout
Ensure that the mixer cleans out consistently and completely. Feed that is left in the mixer can spoil, contaminating the next batch that is mixed. When demoing a mixer, check that feed does not get stuck on the screws or along the sidewalls when unloading.
- Determine the Optimal Size Mixer
Calculate your largest and smallest batch sizes to help determine what capacity you’ll need. “One of the most common mixer selection mistakes is picking one that is too big or too small,” Buckmaster shares. “A properly sized mixer will assure adequate blending of the ration without needing long mixing times. This will optimize both labor use and equipment cost.”
The truth is in the mix! See for yourself by viewing our YouTube video, “Things To Look For In A Vertical Mixer”, for additional tips on evaluating a mixer’s performance:
Buckmaster, Dennis R. “Choose a TMR mixer that is right for you.” Hoard’s Dairyman. 25 May 2006.
Kammel, David. “Design, Selection, and Use of TMR Mixers.” University of Wisconsin – Madison.